28 January, 2019

Commissioner calls for action on visible, local policing in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan is publishing the findings of her neighbourhood policing survey. The results show a mixed picture across the county, with some areas performing better than others.

The results come as a consultation ends on the amount residents are willing to pay for policing via their council tax.

The survey was completed by over 1,400 residents last year across North Yorkshire and York. People were asked to give their views on the quality of policing in their area, what had changed and whether community safety has improved.

The results show:

  • Overall, residents feel less safe than they did a year ago
  • 40% of people feel crime and anti-social behaviour is getting worse in their area
  • Policing comes at the bottom of the list when residents are asked to rate local public services
  • Less than one third of people are satisfied with the level of police presence in their area
  • Scarborough and Richmondshire are standout areas for good practice and community confidence
  • There is support for partners to take more action over mental health related issues
  • Communities feel they should be given a greater say on resolving anti-social behaviour issues in their area.

Commenting on the report, Julia Mulligan said:

“The results are worrying but not a surprise, as it has been clear to me for some time now that the public are concerned about the erosion of local policing services. I undertook this survey to get a better understanding of the issues, and to ensure North Yorkshire Police can see that these are very real concerns.

“While the majority of people are satisfied, it’s evident that a significant proportion are not. What is more, we get regular feedback from officers telling us that they too would like to offer a better service, but feel more people on the ground would help them and the communities they serve.

“I believe the results reflect the gradual shift in policing resources nationwide, not just here in North Yorkshire, from traditional, local policing to more serious and complex matters, such as child abuse, sexual assault, cyber and online crime, serious and organised crime. While it is right that North Yorkshire Police has the resources in place to tackle the most serious crimes, I do feel this has been to the detriment of local policing.

“However, the balance is hard to achieve. Policing demand is going up, as is the complexity of crime. Those officers dealing with serious crimes are also feeling the pressure, especially as the additional workload comes at a time when resources are very tight.”

The results of the survey will help inform the Commissioner’s decision on the precept which will be discussed on 5 February at the Police, Fire and Crime Panel. This year, the government gave Police and Crime Commissioners greater flexibility to increase the amount people pay.

In advance of the Panel’s meeting, Julia Mulligan said:

“The decision this year is a tough one, which I am weighing up very carefully. People quite rightly want a good, visible local policing service, but we do need to protect the most vulnerable people from harm. What’s more, we are all feeling the pinch right now, so a higher bill is the last thing we want in an ideal world.

“However, given we have no further assurances from the government on centrally funded increases, and pay levels are on the rise – as well as other costs – this may be the only way to improve matters. I have made no decision yet, but if the precept does go up, both myself and the public will need to see more police officers and PCSOs in local communities.”

Read the report